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Shooting Tips

A Simple Yet Dramatic ‘Groom Getting Ready’ Shot {How I Shot It}

By Trevor Dayley on November 3rd 2015

Often as a wedding photographer, I have to be constantly on the move and get my shots done quickly so I can stick to the day’s timeline. Many times, space can be limited to work in, such as a small, chaotic, busy hotel room while trying to shoot photos of the bride and groom getting ready. I enjoy the challenge though and look for the opportunities in the chaos. Here’s how I shot the following photo of a groom getting ready using all natural light along with a pull back photo for reference.



How I Shot It

The groom, Patrick, was looking very dapper as he slipped on his suit coat. The room was a small conference room with a large table in the middle. I had Patrick get closer to the windows and positioned myself so that the backdrop behind him was the dark colored curtain. One window, camera right, served as the key light, a second window camera left and behind Patrick served as a bit of rim light to separate his hair from bleeding into the backdrop.

Gear List

Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
Lens: Canon 100mm F/2.8 Macro IS USM
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure: 1/500
ISO: 800

Here’s a pull back shot just seconds later so you can see the two windows and dark curtains that served as the backdrop.


Post Process

Very simple. Turned it black and white for that classic, elegant look. Nothing more.


Don’t ever let your environment limit you. Fortunately, as photographers we get to create our own little world inside the camera based on how we frame the image. Take a second and choose the right frame for your image. Lastly, look for the direction of light and position yourself to take advantage of it. This photo actually went on to win first place in a photo contest. It goes to show what a little lighting and composition can do.

About the “How to Shoot It” Series

This educational series highlights amazing images from our writers as well as our community. The goal is to not only feature inspirational work but to provide valuable education for our photography community. If you would like to submit your work or shoot to be considered, please click here.

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Trevor Dayley is a full-time wedding photographer based out of Arizona. He has six kids and has been married for 15 years. When he is not shooting weddings, he loves helping the photo industry. He has written hundreds of articles and shared countless tutorials. In 2014, he was named one of the Top 30 Most Influential Photographers in the Industry and one of the Top 100 Wedding Photographers by BrandSmash.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Duc Hong

    incredible use of light and spaces, the result is fantastic as well

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  2. Andy & Amii Kauth

    Great article; rad image!

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  3. Phil Bautista

    Gotta love the simplicity of it.

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  4. David Hall

    Nicely done!

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  5. Rafael Steffen

    Thanks for sharing this simple, but very useful tip on creating beautiful portraits!

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  6. David Hill

    As always Trevor, a great article! So simply yet super shot! Nice one! Dave

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  7. Nathan Smith


    Very nice.

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  8. David Kalonick

    When I came across the article I thought of so many scenarios for this setup, and then chuckled when I saw how creative an simple it was. Bravo!

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  9. Elizabeth Fox

    Fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Justin Haugen

    outstanding, thanks for sharing Trevor!

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  11. Easton Reynolds

    Love it man. Great use of the space and available light!

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